Ivan the Great or Ivan III Vasilyevich was the ruler of Rus’. The reign of Ivan is marked by many great achievements. It was Ivan the Great who put an end to the Tatar yoke. Besides, the decisions and actions he made during his reign resulted in the expansion of the Russian territory.
The life of this Russian ruler is full of facts that may be interesting to our readers. Today, we decided to share some of these facts. Here they are…
Ivan the Great: 10 interesting facts about the gatherer of the Russian lands
1. Ivan the Great was the regent for his father
Ivan the Great was born in January 1440. His father, Vasily II, was blinded during one of the wars. In order to reclaim the throne and continue ruling, he made Ivan his co-ruler and regent. An interesting fact about Ivan the Great is that he served as the co-ruler for at least 12 years. In 1462, after the death of his father, he was officially proclaimed the ruler of Rus’.
2. Ivan the Great engaged to Maria of Tver at the age of 6
When Ivan turned 6 years old, his father ordered to organize his engagement to Maria of Tver. She died in 1967. Poisoning is believed to be the cause of her death.
During his lifetime, Ivan the Great was married twice. In 1472, he married Sophia Palaiologina, a Byzantine princess. They had 12 children. At least two of their children didn’t survive infancy.
3. Ivan the Great considered Sophia to have been his biggest supporter
The marriage of Sophia and Ivan was a happy one. Sophia was a well-educated, intelligent woman. She implemented many new ideas in the life of Rus’. She often advised her husband on what actions would be beneficial to the development of Rus’. It was she who advised Ivan to stop paying the customary tribute to the grand Khan Ahmed, an interesting fact about Ivan the Great.
4. Ivan the Great ordered to rebuild the Kremlin
Ivan the Great invited several skilled Italian architects to renovate the Kremlin, the fortified complex in the very heart of Moscow. The program of renovation implied the design of the new Kremlin wall, reconstruction of several towers, construction of several cathedrals and erection of a new Palace.
5. Ivan the Great united all the lands of Rus’
Ivan the Great saw the potential that came from the unification of all Rus’ lands. Therefore, he made a decision to gain control over all the independent duchies that were parts of Rus’. He stripped the princes ruling those duchies off their titles.
The wars with the Republic of Novgorod were the biggest and most significant series of events that happened in the course of the Rus’ lands’ unification. The major cause of the wars was the political and religious independence of the Novgorod Republic. In 1470, the Novgorodians were defeated twice. One year later, a peace treaty was signed. The Novgorodians agreed to give to the winner a significant portion of their territories.
6. Ivan the Great had great diplomatic skills
Ivan the Great was a great diplomat. During his reign, the contacts with the Osman Empire, the Roman Empire, Venice and Denmark (Dania) were established.
7. Ivan the Great rejected the Tatar yoke
Since Ivan had refused to pay the customary tribute to the grand Khan Ahmed, a military campaign against Moscow was organized. Despite the efforts of Khan Ahmed, the campaign was unsuccessful.
The conflict that resulted in the Grand Stand on the Ugra River was resolved without any war actions. Why? Believe it or not, but the army of Khan Ahmed was unable to cross the Ugra River.
8. Ivan the Great ordered to compile a new law code that was called Sudebnik
Sudebnik was introduced in 1497. It was the first collection of laws implemented in the united Rus’. Sudebnik played a crucial role in the history of the Russian state. It eliminated the feudal fragmentation and laid the foundation for the nationwide Russian Law, an interesting Ivan the Great fact.
9. Ivan the Great was the first to call himself “tsar”
The title that Ivan awarded himself with was unofficial. He often used it in correspondence with the representatives of foreign kingdoms and republics.
10. Ivan the Great’s brothers started wars with him several times
Ivan had 4 brothers. The eldest of them died in 1472. Since he had neither children nor will, Ivan took the land belonging to him. Andrei the Younger died in 1481. The will he wrote clearly stated that his lands were to be inherited by Ivan.
Ivan often refused to share the lands he conquered with his brothers. This made his brothers Andrei the Elder and Boris furious. Under the support of Lithuania, they started wars with Ivan several times. All their efforts to overtake the power were unsuccessful. Ivan won both of the wars.
In 1491, Ivan ordered to arrest Andrei the Elder. Following his death in 1493, Ivan seized the lands belonging to him. Boris died one year later. He left his lands to his sons.
Ivan the Great died in 1505. He left all his lands to his son, Vasily, who became the next ruler of Rus’.
We hope that the facts provided above helped you to learn more about the role Ivan the Great played in the history of Russia. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page!